GIVING GEORGE W. BUSH HIS DUE ON DEMOCRACY
The Politics of Churlishness
by Martin Peretz
If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold--perhaps even somewhat reckless--instincts to pursue the task as he did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about aids?
The article goes on to discuss the changes in the arab world and how, like it or not, none of it would have been possible without GWB's policy of democratization. There's many people who thought, me included, that the goal of democracy in the middle east was just pretty bunting to justify the war. What we've seen since is that it's certainly more than simple words or cover, it's visionary, and it'll likely change the world for good or for ill. Certainly there has been more dramatic shift since the fall of communism and I'll wager dollars to donuts that polisci students a half century from now will be writing endless papers and dissertations on the lasting effect of the bush doctrine and the push for democracy.
Here's how the author of the above ends his piece...I might disagree with bits of it here and there, but it's something to think about:
Some liberals appear to have understood that history is moving swiftly and in a good direction, and that history has no time for their old and mistaken suspicion of American power in the service of American values. One does not have to admire a lot about George W. Bush to admire what he has so far wrought. One need only be a thoughtful American with an interest in proliferating liberalism around the world. And, if liberals are unwilling to proliferate liberalism, then conservatives will. Rarely has there been a sweeter irony.